The head of an astronomical observatory in Toronto says a solar eclipse and a meteor shower are just a couple of astronomical episodes you can catch in the month of August.
Paul Delaney, director of the York University Astronomical Observatory and AM 640’s expert in astronomy and space exploration, says nowadays, you don’t need to be a scientist or have expensive astronomical equipment to see celestial bodies.
With a simple low budget telescope or binoculars and a mobile app, like SkySafari, Star Chart or Pocket Universe, you too can enjoy the wonders of the night sky at a low cost or even for free.
“These apps are really a great addition to those who have telescopes,” Delaney told AM 640’s Morning Show. “It can give you an amount of material which is truly breathtaking and give you great insight into the objects you are looking at.”
Delaney says August will be a good month to see some prominent planets, even in the city, as they should shine through light pollution.
“If you know the objects to look for, nice bright double stars and nice bright globular clusters, the summer sky can be really pleasant in addition to being really warm.”
LISTEN: Paul Delaney, the director of the York University Astronomical Observatory and AM 640’s expert in astronomy and space exploration, talks to AM 640’s Morning Show.
August 7 – Sturgeon Moon (Partial Lunar Eclipse)
Native American tribes once called it the Sturgeon Moon because they knew that the sturgeon, bottom-feeding fish, of the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain were most readily caught during this full moon. “It’s pretty much the only unique object you will see in the sky on Monday because it’s so large and bright,” according to Delaney. The moon will also provide a partial lunar eclipse casting a shadow on parts of South and East Asia, Europe, Africa and Australia.
August 11 &12 – Perseid Meteor Shower
The event is precipitated by remnants of a dead comet entering the Earth’s atmosphere. The event essentially started on July 13 but will see its peak viewing times during the evenings of Aug. 11 and 12. Delaney says in order to see this, you will need to try to find darker skies. “You need to be in the dark to see the benefits of a meteor shower. Generally speaking, after midnight,” Delaney says.
READ MORE: How you can watch the Perseid meteor shower
August 16 – The Moon, Venus, and Aldebaran
Aldebaran is an orange giant star about 65 light years from our sun. It is one of the brighter stars in our nighttime sky. It will join a cluster with the moon and Venus on Aug. 16.
August 21 – Solar Eclipse
The moon will completely cover the sun along a narrow strip of land about 113 km wide from Oregon to South Carolina. It’s the first total solar eclipse on the mainland since 1979.
WATCH: Excitement builds ahead of total solar eclipse over U.S.
August 25 – The Moon, Jupiter and Spica
Spica is a bright blue binary star in the constellation of Virgo. On July 28, Spica could be seen side by side with Jupiter while the moon hovered above the duo. On the Aug. 25, Spica will slump a bit below Jupiter and the moon to form a triangle-like cluster.
August 30 – The Moon, Saturn and Antares
Antares is a reddish star and the brightest in the constellation of Scorpius. Earlier in July, it paired up with the moon and Saturn to form some of the brightest objects in the night sky. The trio will do so again on Aug. 30, lining up in a diagonal formation.